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In the lead up to protected industrial action, bosses from Hussey Farms in Victoria have issued threats to workers and attempted to intimidate them in to not taking action.

In response, United Workers Union (UWU) filed an application in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia yesterday for alleged breaches of the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act, seeking declarations and the imposition of penalties on Hussey.

Today, UWU members at Hussey Farms in Victoria will walk off the job, marking the first farm strike in decades.

Hussey workers are fighting for a wage increase that keeps pace with inflation as well as same job, same pay protections for labour hire workers.

On four occasions since 2017, UWU has caught Hussey using labour hire companies that have paid workers through illegal cash-in-hand arrangements, as little as $12-per-hour. The company was also caught failing to pay casual workers night shift loading during the pandemic.

Hussey has rebuffed proposals to protect labour hire workers from exploitation and guarantee them the same pay and conditions as other workers at the farm.

At the same time, the company has offered workers a wage increase that would only see them paid 6 cents above the minimum.

Hussey Farms’ main operations includes the picking and packing of baby leaf salads for Aldi and Coles and for export.

UWU National Secretary Tim Kennedy said it was commendable that workers at the site were willing to fight to lift the standards for everyone in spite of management’s threats.

“The workers who keep Australians fed and nourished are rightfully fighting to be respected for their work,” Mr Kennedy said.

“These are the folks who work 24/7 in the freezing cold to keep Aldi and Coles’ shelves stocked.

“The least Hussey can do is back off from the threats and intimidation, make sure their workers are rewarded with a wage offer that is aligned with inflation and pay casuals above the bare minimum.”

Workers at Hussey will begin striking at 6:00am today and were resolved in continuing the strike until the company returned with a more equitable offer.

What: Press conference

Who: UWU National Secretary Tim Kennedy and striking workers from Hussey Farms

When: Wednesday 28 June 2023 at 10:30am

Where: ALDI South Melbourne, 100 Market Street, South Melbourne, VIC 3205

Contact: UWU Media Contact: Carolyn Smart 0439 933 229 | [email protected]